Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Plans

Stina and I just took a nice, 2 1/2 hour long walk and found ourselves talking about the future. That talk turned into a plan, and that all solidified our goals. Stina, using the wireless internet that we just set up (thanks for the router suggestion, Tony!), is on my mom's computer, and I am on mine. She is researching some of our more solid plans, while I blog, and hopefully we will soon both be blogging simultaneously.

We paused under the Bur Oak tree, by which we plan to get married. We tossed the small Packers football around and watched the dog explore further west along the path towards the river. After some time spent calling her back, and seeing her seek out that path, we decided to follow. She led us into the woods, where we found no man made interruption but my father searching for sugar maples and briefly tossing the ball with us before he headed back over to the north slope.

As the wind blew in the trees above our heads, we found ourselves wondering what would happen after this big adventure and our wedding. We have many grand plans for our lives, but how do we fit them into such a finite period as one's life, and how do we reckon that with the ages and the hypothetical children and... and... everything.

Well, many of you know how I get. We couldn't be done with our walk until we had a plan. So I proposed we walk through everything from today on to get us revved up and in the right frame of mind to figure out our timeline. This part took so long, we forgot our reason for beginning the task by the end of the task. Luckily that was still foremost in our minds, so we stumbled upon it again. In as succinct a form as I can bear to put it, our plans are as follows:

(We skipped the initial stages that we already have planned, but I'll include those here for easy reference.)
Today: Get the telephone numbers of all the friends and family from whom we have not heard, and press them to come to our show on November 1st at my parents' farm in Wisconsin. I hope we'll also have a bit of a party afterwards, maybe with some football and refreshments, and certainly with some catching up and getting along.

During next week we'll rehearse, visit niece, Erin, whose birthday was yesterday, fix my computer's dvd drive, pack, buy any gear we might still need (a lighter, warmer sleeping bag, waterproof shoes, a better backpack for me), and solidify our first few months of plans with the people we hope to visit.

On November 1st, we will have that event we're planning, and then bid adieu to my parents and everybody and travel home with Katie-Come-Lately to Waukegan near Chicago. We'll spend about a week in the area, a few nights with Katie, a few with Heather and Peter, a few with Jon Sabo (though he doesn't know that yet), maybe a few with some party members if we still feel the need and have worn out our welcome elsewhere. Claudia Hommel is a French singer and her partner Cappie (Kappie? Cappy?) and she have stayed here, and they've always been enthusiastic about supporting my performeriness.

After Chicago, we'll book it in a roundabout way traveling a bit further east than necessary to get to Jocelyn in New Orleans. We'll stay with my grandma and aunts along the way in Kentucky and Tennessee. Stina knows some folks along that route, too, I think, and then end up in Louisiana on the 8th or 9th.

We'll spend much of November accompanying Jocelyn's incredible tambourine and kazoo show that she does for all the cadavers at Tulane. (Don't deny it, Jocelyn, I know you do it when no one's looking.)

On November 23rd when Jocelyn heads to TN, we'll head to Fort Worth (actually Plano) for Thanksgiving with Stina's cousin Michael and Danielle and their children. Along the way to and from there, we hope we can stop by Mike and Stacey in Houston and Cassandra in Waco, and a few other TX friends. Perhaps we can extend the radius of our visits and go up to visit Kassie and Dan in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

One of those things that I mentioned Stina researching is a program for us to join whereby we exchange Spanish lessons for English lessons somewhere South of the U.S. My mother mentioned a program that we want to look into that involves volunteer work from us and free room and board to us.

We plan to spend December traveling around eastern Mexico and into Central America (perhaps ideally spending Christmas either in that program or with a friendly Couchsurfing host). Then January in Brazil (maybe we'll see a rainforest... maybe we can help save the rainforest... Who knows!?!), February will see us traveling down the eastern seaboard to the very southernmost tip of South America (maybe), and March will see us move back up the western side and through Central America to wind up in California in mid-April.

While in CA, we'll visit with Ca and Melina and Tai and Kira for a week or so (unbeknownst to them) and with Stina's San Diego clan for a week or so (also heretofore unbeknowing). Maybe we'll spend a day or two in L.A. (see how we're feeling). Then we'll head North and spend a day or two with Silas, and then we'll spend a day or two in Portland (Hi Kaitlin!) and Olympia, and finally end up in Seattle in early May.

Seattle will be a bit of a rest for us. We'll perform frequently, but it'll also be a time to visit with friends we've missed, see something happening at YTN, and recuperate.

From Seattle in June begins phase 2. We'll book it through Canada to the East Coast and tour NYC, the eastern seaboard, and parts of the south, probably down to Virginia, where we'll stay with Stina's people, and maybe see if we can visit with Emily Chilko in WVa if that's where she is right now (anybody know?). We will have found the cheapest flight we can from the U.S. to Europe in late July (probably a bad time of year for cheap flights...hmm). If all goes according to plan, we'll spend the whole month of August in Ireland.

Then in September, a week in Great Britain (mostly Scotland), a week traveling through France and Belgium (maybe 2 nights and a day in Paris?), a full week in Amsterdam (gotta see where in the Netherlands Anna and Lotte are living nowadays), two weeks traveling through Germany (visit Berlin for a few days, find some castles - mit Jungendherberge: e.g. Stahleck im Bacharach, rediscover Rothenburg...berg? It has a city wall!), and the rest of October through mid-November in Austria and Hungary, end of November in Greece and Italy, December in Southern France, Spain and Portugal, January in Morocco and northwestern Africa, February in
OOP! food's ready... time to eat. I'll finish this later. My father just pointer out that we could hit Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg) after Finland (which'd be part of the Scandinavia tour I neglected to mention and should be inserted between the Netherlands (Den Haag, Utrecht, Amsterdam) and the bulk of our Germany tour) which I haven't even mentioned... so until a moment from now your time, and an hour from now food time. See you then.

Well... delicious chili time is over.
On to Africa: We don't know how good busking will be in much of Africa, having never been there. We're considering... more than considering, we're hoping to find a program or organization to join in Africa volunteering and getting comfortable with the place. Maybe something environmental or political. We'd like to see if there's a youth conference attended by the SWP as there has been in the past. We want something, anything, really that can help us feel more comfortable in a new place to begin with. Maybe Couchsurfing has a program through which we could help in Africa. We're looking for short-term commitments, maybe several 2-week or month-long commitments while in Africa that we could jump one to the next. Stina wants to go to Kenya at some point. I'd like to see what South Africa is like (I've heard truck drivers that I've hitched rides from talk about it, and I want to know what it would seem like from my own perspective). We'll probably leave Africa from either Egypt or Ethiopia.

In March, we'll make our way from Egypt through Israel (I'd like to visit Iran, and I may have friend living there (Hi Zhiela!), but we'll see) and Turkey and Uzbekistan (I wonder if anyone from the UW drama department knows anyone we could meet there). There's a lot of ground to cover in this time as we're trying to make our way over to southeast Asia.

It's hard to know what's "unsafe" and what's truly unsafe. Since we're trying to do it land travel-wise, and we're trying to follow laws and be safe, there seem to be some places that'd be hard to get to. Like India... Are Afghanistan and Iran saafe to travel through for an American? I imagine so, but I'm sure there are those who'd say no. And Pakistan. I mean I'm all support for oppressed peoples of the world, but I'm also all American. Am I silly to worry about things like these? I point out, and rightly so, that we still believe in philosophy of trust... but you also hear about scary things happening "somewhere over there". Where is this somewhere? Is it as dangerous as they all say? Do other nations hear about how dangerous the U.S. is with all its many gun violences each year? I guess I'm mostly afraid that because I will be less familiar with everything going on, I will be less able to deal with dangers. Like deadly spiders and snakes. We just don't have enough of them to worry about in WI, but I know they exist. Oh, bah.

Anyways, after March, we hope we'll be able to visit Thailand. Then we'd like to see if Ca and Melina and kids could join us and visit Ca's family in Vietnam. And then we'd like to see if Mimi can recommend places to visit in Japan (not to presume, but maybe we could even visit your parents, Mimi, whom I've met a couple times... Maybe you, Philip, and Yuki would like to come visit us in Japan in May of 2010 if conditions are right...?). And then we'd like to impose on more of our communities' extended families in the Philippines. Peter, do you know anyone we can visit? How about you, Manny? And then, finally (and really finally this time) we'll end up in Seattle in mid-June 2010.

But wait! There's more! Oh yeah, this was all just the rev up to the discussion of what we're going to do AFTER the big trip...
Well, as most readers know by now, Stina and I plan to be married on 10/10/2010 at my parents' farm in Southeast Wisconsin by the big Bur Oak tree that's one of the oldest trees in the county. Our friend Alissa has gotten ordained as the Reverend Princess Mortenson (RPM for short), and will marry us in whatever way we and she please.

After a tropical honeymoon of some sort (Australia perhaps? Only one continent left to go after that!... maybe we should stop by Antarctica while we're in Chile), we hope Stina can get into a 2-year grad program in Galway. I'll try to work as an actor in Ireland, but if not, I can surely find some work there. I may even start another theatre company to add to my list (WC 4-H, Klichet, RBP, RAT, and so on - you folks are welcome to join me out there). During the semesters off, we'll teach English in Vienna and brush up our German. After Stina's a master, then I'll hopefully be able to attend a university in Vienna and study Austrian and German theatre. I'd really like to someday be known as a political theatre scholar, and I think Brecht'd be a great place to start (maybe I can find Boal while we're in Central America).

Backing up a few years, Stina and I have talked about having a kid or 2 in our early thirties, so around the time I'm done with grad school we hope we'll have a one-year-old and another on the way... or something like that.

Around that time (about 5 years from now... well, 6 really, but who's counting?), we'll probably resettle in Seattle... at least that's where we're leaning. If everyone we know and love has packed up and moved away by then, maybe not, but since that's where so many people we love live and where they're likely to stay, it's currently in first place for a "settling down" place. I'd certainly enjoy trying to make it as an actor, but have long thought that opening a used bookstore/coffeeshop/gamestore would be a delight. Stina would like to write and teach at a community college.

On our 50th year or thereabouts, when the kids are in their early teens, or late teens and early 20s, or on our 20th or 25th wedding anniversary, we'll either take the kids out of school for a year and take them on or, depending on their age, challenge them to an adventure around the world very much like the one we're planning now. The world will have changed considerably, I imagine. Perhaps we'll be able to take public transportation all over... or maybe we'll have flying cars that run on tiny nuclear fission batteries.

Anyhow, after the kids are grown, and after we've taken 10 years to help get them started in their new home on a colony on Mars, I imagine someday 50 years from now, perhaps (since 60 is the new 40 now, I imagine in 50 years, 75 will be the new 40). When my parents are 115 and a 111 and will have escaped to become gnomes in the woods and swamps, we will come live here, in this place, on this farm. And we will raise those sheep I talk about, and I will teach occasionally at Kewaskum High School, and our grandchildren will visit their gnomish great-grandparents in the woods, and I will found a terrific new theatre company in West Bend, and we will perform in the basement of the Tri-county building. We will also use the farm as a Bed and Breakfast, and once a year our friends will all come for a month (during the off-season, of course) and we will play and celebrate our lives together. On weekends, folks will come from miles around for the fine ambiance and delicious food at the Stonehill Cafe. And urban artsy folks will come stay for a night on the farm, and contribute something to the artistic output of our community.

We love you!
Brendan (...and Stina)

1 comment:

Alissa said...

I love you guys. I love your life plan. Astonishing that you have it all worked out...and very proud to be included in it, on 10/10/2010. You are rockin'. I hope that nothing turns out the way you've planned because it turns into something even better, though that's honestly pretty hard to imagine, reading your extended forecast.

The Rev. Princess